Items in the‘Storytelling’ Category
B2BCamp Boston is this Saturday 9/29 and runs from 8 am to 2:30 pm. Have you registered yet? There’s still time and if you are really brave and want to present, you can still submit a session for consideration. The deadline for submission is 9am Saturday!
I’m really pumped for this as the democratic and all-volunteer format means that all who attend (we call you participants) decide what will be presented. As of this morning we have over 115 registered and 15 sessions submitted for consideration. We expect a large turnout and great content … check out who is coming and the sessions.
Besides some great sessions, our keynote is the legendary Mike Bosworth. If you’ve been around B2B sales for any length of time,
you’ve probably heard the name Mike Bosworth and his groundbreaking book Solution Selling. Mike is considered one of the pioneers of the B2B sales training model, including Solution Selling and Customer Centric Selling, but his newest project has turned everything we learned in those books and programs on its head.
As Mike explains in this Selling Power guest blog post, “When I first got into training in the late 70’s, my mission was to help the salespeople who struggled the most: the bottom 80%. In 2008, however, I got some very disappointing news: the Sales Benchmark Index reported that after all these years, despite the efforts of all the sales methodology companies, (including my own Solution Selling and CustomerCentric Selling methodologies) the 80/20 rule had gotten worse. It was now 87/13!” Read more.
With that, the new program was born. As Mike explains on his web site, “StoryLeaders™ was founded to provide insight into the greatest mystery in sales: how the very best salespeople consistently and successfully influence change in others, inspiring their customers to say yes. Top-performing salespeople have always had a knack for forging the types of connections that foster collaboration and the reciprocal sharing of ideas and beliefs. Connections that can move people to change.
Having gone through both Solution Selling and StoryLeaders myself, I am excited to have Mike keynote our first B2BCamp in Boston. The StoryLeaders program addresses the one key component that Solution Selling and the others do not: what makes some sales people so much more effective than others?
You won’t want to miss Mike speak on Saturday 9/29.
Watch this short video of Mike explaining the importance of making connection first.
Posted in B2B Marketing, Sales & Marketing Events, Storytelling | No Comments »
Remember summer vacations as a kid? I’m sure most of us went to camp somewhere or we had a week or two at the beach or in the mountains with our “Gramps and Grammy” or Uncle Bob or Fred. In my case, it was camp at my gramp’s retreat in the wilds of Quebec – he called it Rock Annand. Yes we called him Gramps, but we called the retreat camp – all 14 of his grandchildren – and we loved it. So much so that some of us named our companies after it. There’s the Rock Annand Group and Rockannand German Shepherds. I digress. Yes, it’s a PLACE and pronounced Rock AN-und. NOT ahNAND.**
The problem is that we are all grown up now, with crazy busy lives and kids and for some grandkids running around, And with the Memorial Day weekend starting today everyone is thinking of summer and vacations away somewhere. Well, I am here to tell you that camp is NOT just for kids and that we CAN have our camp and business “and eat it to”. It’s called B2B Camp and it’s for all you B2B sales and marketing kiddies who yearn for an experience with other B2Bers at a great retreat location. An experience where we sit around the campfire and share stories about all our hectic sales and marketing endeavors in the real world. The successes and the failures and where we get great inspiration form others and support in how to conquer our fears in climbing the rope (new lead nurturing campaigns) or doing backflips off the diving board (getting that prospect to take our call or respond to our CTAs).
Well folks B2B Camp is here! And it’s coming to Boston September 29th at a great location, NERT in Cambridge. It’s not quite summer time, but what adults have time during the summer to take a Saturday to go to a business camp without your family? Starting tomorrow, every Saturday until after Labor Day is spoken for, but as one of co-host of the event, I have the last Saturday of September (which is also the first Saturday of Fall) circled on my calendar. Matt Bertuzzi, of the Bridge Group has it circled too cause he’s co-hosting with me!!
I strongly suggest you consider marking your calendars too because B2B Camp is like no other B2B sales and marketing event you’ve ever been to. Let me count the ways:
- B2BCamp is one of the many “un-conferences” gaining popularity around the world, however, this event is solely focused on B2B sales and marketing professionals.
- Although similar to traditional industry conferences, B2BCamp has no “attendees” because everyone participates in some manner, including you if you join us.
- Everyone, including hosts, participants (you) and sponsors will be regionally based, so the topics and presenters will be what “we” all want to hear.
- No one gets special treatment or speaking opportunities. Participants vote on the topics that are proposed that morning and the sessions are more hands-on discussions then death by PowerPoint.
- Session topics will range from client acquisition practice and use cases, lead to sales process optimization, social selling and marketing, and sales/marketing automation tools and technique.
Now we won’t really have campfires, s’mores or weeny roasts, but we were able to get a great special guest for our camp to wow and inspire, who will keynote the day. His name is Mike Bosworth, co-founder of StoryLeaders , and known worldwide for founding and growing one of the most successful virtual companies in the B2B arena, Solution Selling. Mike’s talk, entitled the “Power of Story”, will look at how to facilitate and institutionalize “Whole Brain Selling” for the entire sales and marketing team to achieve greater connections with customers and future customers through story. His keynote will draw upon his recently published third book entitled, What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story.
So there you have it my fellow prospective B2B campers. Grab your calendar and with a sharpie, put B2B Camp Boston in there on 9/29, tell the fam you’ll be going to adult business camp that day and plan to have one memorable experience. No need to pack a lunch (we got that covered), but do bring a favorite blankie or pillow so you can gather round the various story tellers who will keep you motivated, engaged and inspired. Bring lots of business cards too, because just like in summer camp, you will develop lots of new B2B BFFs that you can tweet, text and email when you get back home.
** Just for kicks, google ANNAND and you will get a super long list of Annands, all from Scotland or New Scotland (Nova Scotia). Like this one: Annand Coat of Arms.
Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing & Sales Alignment, Sales & Marketing Events, Storytelling | 1 Comment »
When You Open Your Mouth, Have a Point
When ever I think of stories, I’m always reminded of one of the best movie lines of all time from a movie full of great ones, “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”. Steve Martin (Neal) has already had his fill of John Candy’s (Del) character and finally loses it after hearing another of Del’s stories:
“And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea … have a POINT. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.”
Don’t you wish every encounter with a seller started with a story that had a point? Lately all my dealings with sales folks have been maddening. I feel like asking them, “what’s your point, because I really don’t understand what you want and why I should listen to you”. It seems that sellers are too busy focusing on the WHAT and HOW, that they almost always forget the WHY. Without the WHY, there is no story and nothing for me to connect to for context that makes the story interesting and makes me curious.
Start with the Point
Just once I wish a sales person who has never met me before would take some time and do enough research so that he starts the conversation with a very clear point. Let me give you an example. Since I deal with a large number of CEOs, I have found that having stories that relate to beliefs and challenges that they typically deal with to be important to make that vital connection at the start of conversation. One of my favorites goes like this:
“Hi John, can I share a story with you about another CEO who believed that their must be a simpler way for his sales team to talk about his company (product) with his target buyers?”
The answer is usually yes, which then gives me permission to spend 2 to 3 minutes to tell that story. Notice the words I used.
Can I share a story …
About another CEO who believed …
Everyone likes to hear a story. That opens the door and relaxes our brain, but the next line is the point of the story and provides the listener with the reason WHY I want to tell them about WHAT I did for that other CEO and HOW I solved his problem.
The Golden Circle – From the Inside Out
Simon Sinek wrote a fascinating book entitled, “Start With Why”, that explains that as listeners we process information from the inside out. It all starts with our emotional brain, where we process information by understanding the WHY of the story before our thinking brain kicks in by applying the rational arguments associated with all the facts and figures. Sinek calls it the “golden circle” which depicts three concentric circles starting with WHY in the middle followed by WHAT and then HOW. The WHY is your belief, your cause, your purpose and that is what listeners connect to. As Sinek explains, “People buy WHY you do it, not what you do.”
If you think of my CEO example above, the point of my story is that every one on the sales team can learn to tell a more effective story and more easily connect with buyers. That is my belief that is important to share to connect emotionally with my buyer’s beliefs. With that connection, I can now explain the specifics of what I do and how I do it to make that belief a reality.
Listen to Simon explain the power of the golden circle in this compelling TED talk presentation.
So that’s my story today, What’s yours?
Posted in Content Marketing, Storytelling, Thought Leadership | No Comments »
In my last post, I indicated that the secret to good storytelling lies in making an emotional connection with buyers. But, I am not naive to think that this is an easy thing to do for most of us, regardless of our position in the company. The challenge, as I have learned in life personally and professionally, is that making the connection means earning the other person’s trust. And that my friends means making ourselves vulnerable. And further more we have to take the Nestea plunge first in order to get the other person – our buyer, our boss, our partner, our children – to open up, listen and respond.
Now I know what you are thinking … sounds way too “touchy-feely” to me. And what does what have to do with business, content marketing and telling good stories. Well folks it has everything to do with having another person open up and listen to what we have to say.
The key takeaway for all of us is that we need to have the courage to be vulnerable first to encourage our buyer to be vulnerable too. Mike Bosworth in his new book, “What Great Salespeople Do” ( see my recap post on Mike’s new book), discusses the importance of vulnerability in a story he relates from an early career mentor:
“Bob used to say that there is a ‘veneer of bullshit’ between two strangers, and as we all know, that’s especially true with a seller and buyer. Until you break through that veneer of bullshit, he’d tell me, you have no chance of selling anything.”
To get a better idea of what i am suggesting here, watch this very entertaining and compelling TED-talk story by Dr. Brene Brown.
Posted in B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Storytelling, Thought Leadership | No Comments »